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Merrill Presidential Scholars Program


The 2010-2011 Merrill Presidential Scholars

View Images from the 2010 Luncheon

Shyueh-Rwong Clare Cheng
College of Education

Samantha Goldhagen
College of Education

Lauren McKay
A. James Clark School of Engineering

Mark Strother
College of Computer, Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Corey Cines
Robert H. Smith School of Business

William Goff
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Lina Morales
College of Arts and Humanities

YiAn(Ann)Sun
College of Computer, Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Barbara Cole
College of Arts and Humanities

Rebecca (Xiao-Xiao) Gu
College of Arts and Humanities

David Olson
College of Arts and Humanities

Karen J. Viruez-Munoz
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Jennifer Cunningham
School of Public Health

Marcus A. Johnson, Jr
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Zach Rowan
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Nicholas Wagman
A. James Clark School of Engineering

Marci Deloatch
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Ankush Khullar
College of Chemical and Life Sciences

Aaron Shapiro
Undergraduate Studies

Kate Yanchulis
Philip Merrill School of Journalism

Mark Elliott
School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation

Kevin Kirk
Robert H. Smith School of Business

Brian Shinder
College of Chemical and Life Sciences

Maria Zilberman
Philip Merrill School of Journalism

Ben Fuld
Robert H. Smith School of Business

 

 

 

 


Past Merrill Presidential Scholars

The 2009-2010 Merrill Scholars (Pictures and Statements)
View Images from the 2010 Luncheon


The 2009-2010 Merrill Scholars (Pictures and Statements)
View Images from the 2009 Luncheon


The 2008-2009 Merrill Scholars
Pictures and Statements and Luncheon Slideshow

For a print version of the Scholars' statement and pictures.

View an image slideshow from the 2008 Merrill Presidential Scholars Luncheon
The Merrill Presidential Scholars were joined by high school teachers and university faculty at a luncheon honoring the students and their teachers.


The 2007-2008 Merrill Scholars
Pictures and statements.  

For a print version of the 2007-2008 Merrill Presidential Scholars

Pictures from the 2007 Merrill Presidential Scholars Luncheon
The Merrill Presidential Scholars were joined by high school teachers and university faculty at a luncheon honoring the students and their teachers.


The 2006-2007 Merrill Scholars
Pictures and statements.  
Pictures from the 2006 Merrill Presidential Scholars Luncheon
The Merrill Presidential Scholars were joined by high school teachers and university faculty at a luncheon honoring the students and their teachers.


The 2005-2006 Merrill Scholars
Pictures and statements.
Pictures from the 2005 Merrill Presidential Scholars Luncheon

The Merrill Presidential Scholars were joined by high school teachers and university faculty at a luncheon honoring the students and their teachers. Here are two slideshows of images from the event for you to view.


The 2004-2005 Merrill Scholars
Pictures and statements.



The 2010-2011 Merrill Presidential Scholars

Samantha Goldhagen
Samantha Goldhagen

One of the reasons I chose Education as my first major is because amazing teachers in my past have made profound impressions on my life. My eighth grade Social Studies teacher, Mr. John Napoli, was one of these teachers.  Not only is his passion for social studies evident in his enthusiastic and creative teaching style, but he also shows a sincere interest in the success and well being of each of his students.  Whether dressing up as a soldier, reenacting an epic battle, or encouraging students to think outside the box, Mr. Napoli made the classroom a welcoming and engaging place.  At Maryland, Dr. Brenda Jones Harden has been a helpful and inspiring mentor.  I have been fortunate enough not only to have Dr. Harden as my professor, but she has also given me the opportunity to work with her graduate research team in developmental psychology.  Since I added psychology as a second major and became interested in a career other than teaching, she has provided me with insight and advice on career and research paths.  Dr. Harden’s experience and wealth of knowledge in child development, she has inspired me to accomplish more than I ever imagined.  I am very grateful for mentors like Mr. Napoli and Dr. Harden.

Prof. Jones Harden was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2009-2010 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.

 

Johnson
Marcus A. Johnson, Jr.
Mr. David Ditman, a permanent fixture in the Social Studies department at Howard High School, taught me AP World History.  Even though I was not the biggest history fan, he always found a way to make the class interesting.  Mr. Ditman did not just teach for the AP exam; his class taught me a true sense of responsibility for my studies.  Drilling document-based questions and outlining textbook chapters was exhausting. With his coaching, I learned the value of hard work and patience in approaching my course work.  In and out of the classroom, Mr. Ditman consistently offered his guidance.  He was instrumental to my successful transition from high school to college.  Dr. Sarah Croco’s International Security class was one of my favorite courses at Maryland. Because each class was centered on discussion, Dr. Croco gave all of her students the chance to analyze the texts.  Her hands-on teaching style really helped me to master the material.  I will never forget the concepts and terms that I learned in her class. Beyond her love for research, Dr. Croco demonstrated a true passion for teaching and mentoring students.  She is one of the main reasons that I have decided to pursue a PhD in political science. Her passion for the field is contagious.  Mr. Ditman and Dr. Croco are stellar examples of educators. 

Lauren McKay
Lauren McKay
I have been mentored by a number of wonderful professors and teachers who have played an integral role in shaping me into the student I am today. These mentors have guided me with their expert knowledge in the classroom and have provided compassion and insight on life decisions. My World History and AP European History teacher, Mr. Stan Hampton, helped his freshmen students’ transition smoothly into high school.  He made his history class one of the most enjoyable. I was overjoyed to take a class again with Mr. Hampton my senior year. I not only received high marks on the AP exam, but I became as passionate as he is about European History. Mr. Hampton volunteers his time to student-related outside activities including fundraisers, class-councils, athletics, and more. He is one of the most giving people I know.  I hope that I have made him proud and can never thank him enough for his influence on my education and life. At Maryland, I was fortunate to be a student of Professor Christopher Cadou who taught me the fundamentals of aerodynamics and solidified my passion for Aerospace Engineering. Dr. Cadou gave me my first experience with research and was overall a very supportive and encouraging mentor. Dr. Cadou has made me excited for the rest of my undergraduate career at Maryland and for my future in Aerospace Engineering.

 


Aaron Shapiro Aaron Shapiro

I am unbelievably lucky to have been taught by such extraordinary people throughout my life. Ms. Kimberly Agzigian opened my mind to the fascinating world of genetic biology in 11th and 12th grades. Not only did she have an unmatched ability to catalyze excitement to learn every day, but she also taught me that you are never too old for stickers. I knew every day that Ms. Agzigian was always there to guide me in my studies and in my life, and it was unwaveringly clear that I could always count on her. When I came to the University of Maryland, I was terrified of having to take Organic Chemistry. Dr. Bonnie Dixon turned my most feared class into the class I looked forward to the most. At the start of my third semester with Dr. Dixon, she announced that she wasn’t even bothering to post office hours since we were in her office every hour of the day anyway.  No matter what, I could always depend on Dr. Dixon to push my knowledge further, open my mind with valuable advice, and to support me through every decision I faced. To all of my teachers: thank you.

Prof. Dixon was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2009-2010 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.

 

Karen J. Viruez-Munoz
Karen J. Viruez-Munoz
I have been fortunate to meet teachers whose commitment and dedication to teaching have inspired me to excel in everything I do and to expand my creative boundaries.  At Rockville High School, I studied AP Literature with Ms. Kristen Flather.  Her class gave me the foundation necessary to analyze texts, to write compelling essays, and to think outside the box.  Ms. Flather created an interactive learning environment, engaging all her students through literature, creative writing, and innovative thinking.  She also worked with each of her students to improve their talents and writing skills.  The AP Literature class prepared me for the innovative and critical thinking that I now embrace in the field of sociology.  At the University of Maryland, Professor John Pease's course, Social Stratification and Inequality, inspired me to think about social class in terms of economic and political power.  In addition to his passion for sociology and bringing new life to the material, Professor Pease presents his students with material and discussions that will find useful and relevant for the rest of their lives. He has encouraged me to pursue my passions and to use them to influence society.  Both Professor Pease and Ms. Flather have taught me valuable and useful material but I cherish them most because they have always been there to help me improve and to encourage me to move forward.

Prof. Pease was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2009-2010 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.

 


Mark Elliott Mark Elliott

 I have been blessed with some excellent teachers.  Mr. Edgel Simmons, my high school history teacher, fueled my passion for history and pushed me to excel.  His high standards helped prepare me for college-level history classes, which remain some of my favorites.  Some of the most important learning in his classes took place during discussions in which Mr. Simmons challenged our assumptions and opened our minds to new ideas and interpretations.  At the University of Maryland, I took two excellent Honors Seminar courses from Dr. Jane Loeffler.  As an architectural historian, Professor Loeffler crafted courses that perfectly suited my interests in history and architecture.  She is deeply committed to both scholarship and teaching, and I am honored to have studied the architecture of embassies with one of the leaders in that field of research. I have learned important concepts about how we interact with our everyday surroundings and how good (and bad) architecture can communicate intentional or inadvertent messages to the public.  The excellent research experience I gained in her classes will assist me in my further study of architecture at the graduate level.  Both Professor Loeffler and Mr. Simmons are great educators and great role models.  I am extremely thankful for them and all the other influential teachers that have helped make me the student and person that I am today.

 

Zach Rowan
Zach Rowan
Often a few educators who inspire us to continue to learn give us the motivation to endure our extensive educational careers. Mrs. Allen and Dr. McGloin have been extremely influential mentors who dedicated themselves to pushing students to achieve. Both individuals helped shape my determination to succeed in all endeavors. Mrs. Allen, my Junior AP English teacher, sparked an innate interest in the English language and the development of writing an argument. She provided a nurturing environment that gave students an opportunity to thrive. Dr. McGloin, my CCJS Honors Advisor and professor, has utilized similar principles and has taught me the invaluable skill of questioning premises and deconstructing ideas. By being able to critique concepts, I have become a much stronger writer and thinker. In addition to all of the lessons that these exceptional women have taught me, they have been avid supporters of my personal life. I cannot begin to think about how both my high school and undergraduate experience would have been without the presence of both of these educators. To be a strong student requires the distinguished guidance from an instructor who invests in furthering their student’s passions. I owe much of my continued perseverance to Mrs. Allen's and Dr. McGloin’s dedication.

 

Ann Sun
YiAn(Ann)Sun
Mr. Eric Walstein and Dr. Chunsheng Wang have been integral supporters, advisors, and educators in my academic development. Mr. Walstein is responsible for half of my mathematics education at Montgomery Blair High School. When I took multivariable calculus and differential equations with him junior year, he opened my eyes to advanced mathematical topics. He also sponsored our school and county math teams, in which I actively took part for several years. Both inside and outside the classroom, Mr. Walstein reinforced and augmented my interest in math. Dr. Wang has advised and supported me in a different capacity. From my sophomore year on, Dr. Wang has taught me the basics of electrochemistry and battery development, invited me into his lab group, and allowed me to grow and develop as a researcher. He has also been supportive academically and helped me realize my full potential as an engineer and scientist. The support of both of these teachers and mentors led to my present plans to attend graduate school in applied mathematics. Without their guidance and support, I could never have achieved the multi-disciplinary knowledge base necessary for success in applied mathematics.

 

Nicholas Wagman
Nicholas Wagman

I have been blessed with excellent teachers throughout my high school and college careers. Many of those teachers have made a lasting impact on my life as mentors. Mr. John Holt teaches English at Winters Mill High School; I took his British Literature class my junior year. His passion for teaching English inspired and challenged me to think critically and to express my thoughts through purposeful writing. He truly takes an interest in his students’ lives and does everything he can to help them succeed. Throughout my senior year, I would poke my head in Mr. Holt’s room every morning to chat about life, books, and college applications. He critiqued my college essays and wrote countless recommendation letters for schools and scholarships. Mr. Holt prepared me to succeed in college. I met Dr. Bill Fourney when he led a review session for my engineering statics class freshman year. Dr. Fourney has a gift for making each student in his class master the subject and still has time to tell hilarious stories and life lessons. I was fortunate to learn mechanics of materials from Dr. Fourney my sophomore year, and since then he has been a valued mentor and friend. His great example as an educator motivated me to serve as a Teaching Fellow for the Introduction to Engineering Design course and consider a career in teaching. Both Mr. Holt and Dr. Fourney motivate me to continue learning and have inspired me to help others succeed as they helped me.

Prof. Fourney was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2009-2010 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.

 

William Goff
William Goff

Many believe that the words teacher and mentor can be interchanged without loss of meaning. I see a large difference between the two.  I have encountered many teachers, yet I can say only two have been mentors.  Mrs. Barbara Borleske was my high school Chemistry teacher.  When I crossed the threshold of her chemistry class, Mama B, her moniker, not only taught me the facts, but she nurtured my love of knowledge.  She drove me to exceed expectations and to further my understanding in all of my subjects.  She coached the Science Olympiad team and pressured me into it. I am glad she pushed me because I would not be who I am today without those experiences.  Dr. Roselina Angel was my college Applied Nutrition professor sophomore year.  She was new to the class, and I had just passed basic nutrition the previous semester.  She, like Mama B, saw my eagerness to learn and apply knowledge, and she graciously helped me to do so.  Her guidance did not stop with the end of the course but continued when she hired me as a lab technician.  She has shown me so much in the little time I have worked with her, and the experience is priceless on my journey to veterinary school. She not just only helps me with academia but also helps me with frustrations in life, which is far beyond what many teachers do.  My mentors not only provide me with knowledge, but also go out of their way to motivate me and strive to help me to be my best.

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Ben Fuld
Ben Fuld
Many teachers have had an impact on me but the ones who have influenced me the most are the ones who did more than simply teach subject matter. Both of my Philip Merrill Mentors have taught me life lessons. My first year of high school, I was fortunate to have Dr. Richard A. Disharoon as my choir teacher. Dr. Disharoon, or as his students affectionately call him, Doc, was an inspiration to me; he taught me much more than how to read notes on a page. The way he carried himself and his dedication to his students and school provided a model for me to follow in living my life. Dr. Roxanne Lefkoff has had a similar impact on me. She inspired me to add marketing as a major when I saw the enthusiasm with which she taught. I have had few professors who make class as fun and meaningful as she does. She is deeply interested in the needs and concerns of her students; she has gone out of her way on several occasions to teach me outside of the classroom. I would like to thank both Dr. Disharoon and Dr. Lefkoff for their dedication to me and to so many other students.

Prof. Lefkoff was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2009-2010 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.

 

Brian Shinder
Brian Shinder

Hard work and dedication are traits on which I pride myself.  In high school, Mr. T.J. Viereck showed me what it truly meant to have these qualities.  As my wrestling coach, lacrosse coach, and physical education teacher, he instilled in me the drive to become a better person and to work hard to attain my goals.  He was constantly motivating me to give “110 percent” because he realized the potential I had to succeed.  Because of Mr. Viereck’s influence, I have become not only a better student in my academic career, but also a better person.  Since sophomore year, I have had the privilege of working in Dr. Cristian Castillo-Davis’s lab.  While working under his direction, I have learned so much about the field of biology and the scientific process.  He is always there to help me understand difficult concepts or just chat about new research findings.  Dr. Castillo-Davis has also allowed me to take a very independent role in my research project, giving me the opportunity to further my intellectual and problem-solving abilities.  I am incredibly lucky to have learned so much from him, and thankful for the experience he has given me.

 

Rebecca (Xiao-Xiao) Gu
Rebecca (Xiao-Xiao) Gu

Ms. Rosemary Lather, my high school orchestra director, introduced me to the beauty of music-making and to the discipline and perseverance that its attainment requires. Ms. Lather organized out-of-state trips that fostered the bonding of our ensemble and offered me numerous opportunities to play at weddings and community functions as a member of the school string quartet.  The high expectations she set for our orchestra were a constant reminder to strive toward growth, whether personal or collaborative.  Above all, she taught me that it takes hard work to find joy, beauty and meaning in the music that I love.  Under the caring guidance of Professor Katherine Murdock here at Maryland I have had the opportunity to work closer toward that understanding.  Professor Murdock takes an interest in my personal growth; our lessons are not only comprised of technical exercises on the viola, but also of instruction in creative expression, self-awareness, and patience.   She teaches me how to apply problem-solving skills toward the appreciation of process over result. She encourages me to approach music personally and holistically.  I am truly indebted to the mentorship of Ms. Lather and Professor Murdock, who have molded my musical development and inspired me to become a better instrumentalist and person.

 

Kate Yanchulis
Kate Yanchulis
Ms. Penny Bender Fuchs gave me my first-ever F. As a freshman, I spelled one name wrong in an article for my first news writing class, earning me a failing grade on the assignment and introducing me to the high bar set for students at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Since then, I have always triple-checked the spelling of every name. Through the semester, Ms. Fuchs showed her commitment to every student, shaping us into budding reporters with a passion for writing, for investigation and, of course, for accuracy. She became my mentor, encouraging me to write for the Diamondback, where I am now a senior sports reporter, and helping me find internships to enrich my experience at the University of Maryland.  I might not have found my way to Maryland if not for Mrs. Diane Cerniglia, my Advanced Placement English Literature teacher in my senior year at Bishop O’Connell High School. A University of Maryland alumna, she made her class about more than the AP test. She assigned books, not because the curriculum required it, but to share her love of language with her students. And as diehard fans of the Redskins and Terps, how could we not share a bond?  I had a hard time making my college decision, but thanks in part to Mrs. Cerniglia’s inspiration; I became certain that attending her alma mater was the right choice.

Prof. Bender Fuchs was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2006-2006 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar and by two 2008-2009 Scholars.

 

Maria Zilberman
Maria Zilberman

As my high school journalism and 11th grade English teacher, Ms. Colleen Jordan was always concerned with good writing. But she was equally concerned with the “goodwill and seriousness of purpose” of her students. Ms. Jordan knew the best way to foster goodwill was with a hearty dose of freedom. As the school newspaper advisor, she guided our writing but encouraged us to find our own content. She was the first person to explain to me the still difficult task of seeing the stories all around you. I chose journalism as my major because Ms. Jordan made the process of producing a newspaper as enjoyable as running through the halls of my high school, spreading the freshly printed issues on every window sill. Ms. Penny Bender Fuchs took my passion and gave it some newsroom nuts and bolts in the spring of my freshman year at the University of Maryland. In News Writing and Reporting I, she taught me tight writing, interviewing, accuracy and precision. When writing nothing but hard news for a semester made me itch, she shared colorful stories about her own reporting experiences. Uncertain if I had made the right choice in majors, her stories assured me that the grass would get greener as our skills got stronger. Indeed, the skills she taught are the foundation for the reason it has. She has continued to help me outside of the classroom, guiding me through internship interviews and advising me on a year-long blogging project.

Prof. Bender Fuchs was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2006-2006 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar and by two 2008-2009 Scholars.

 

Barbara Cole
Barbara Cole

(Barbara's sister was named a Merrill scholar in 07-08)
Throughout my academic career, I have been lucky to have mentors who have urged me to reach my highest potential and helped me develop a life-long love of learning.  During my senior year of high school, after completing all the available Latin courses, I chose to take Honors Spanish I and II with Mrs. Kathleen Norwood.  Her obvious enthusiasm for Spanish language and culture encouraged me to appreciate the various cultures of the world.  Most important were the lessons Mrs. Norwood taught me outside the classroom.  At the end of my senior year, I joined Mrs. Norwood and a small group of students on a trip to Spain.  This trip sparked in me a passion for travel.  At the University of Maryland, Professor Michael Olmert has also taught me that learning opportunities exist beyond the classroom environment, as he encourages his classes to read and attend plays.  This summer I will be joining Professor Olmert on his annual study abroad trip to London where I am sure he will have much to teach me about the literature, history, and art of England.  These mentors have not only encouraged me to succeed academically, but also have helped me broaden my horizons and make the most of all opportunities.  I know that whenever I am faced with a difficult challenge or decision, academic or otherwise, I have wonderful mentors to guide me.  

Prof. Olmert was named a Faculty Mentor by two 2007-2008 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars.

 

 

Corey Cines
Corey Cines

Mr. Watkins-Chow, my 10th grade Algebra teacher, saw something in me that I never saw in myself. Although I was a consistent B student, he showed me that I had the potential to be a leader in my community and accomplished academically. Mr. Watkins-Chow challenged me to improve my critical thinking and most importantly, to consider myself to be more than average. It was not until after his class that I felt confident enough to go the extra mile and reach my potential. I credit him for creating a true changing point in my life. At the University of Maryland, Dr. Gary Bulmash, advisor to the Maryland Accounting & Business Association and my former professor, has been a true mentor to me. Over my last three years at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, Dr. Bulmash has been there for me to discuss career plans, my life and to point me in the right direction towards defining my future aspirations. It has been a privilege to get to know him. Dr. Bulmash and Mr. Watkins-Chow exemplify what teachers and mentors should be.

 

David Olson
David Olson

Theatre is a demanding and serious discipline, and no one has ever demanded more seriousness and discipline from me than my high school theatre instructor, Brian Kimmel. Mr. Kimmel brought a passion and charisma to teaching theatre that was contagious. He trained us to be professionals and opened our minds to the infinite possibilities of performance. As a director, he always encouraged collaboration and inspired us to open our minds and throw our hearts into every project. The creative seed that he planted in me in high school blossomed at the University of Maryland’s Department of Theatre thanks to the instruction and guidance I received from excellent professors like Ms. Leigh Wilson Smiley. In Professor Smiley’s class I was able to find strength in my body and my voice; the lessons she has taught me have had a significant impact on my everyday life. She has inspired me to never take “no” for an answer and has taught me that whenever and wherever I see injustices in the world I need to let my voice be heard. I will forever be grateful for the guidance and passion instilled in me by Leigh Wilson Smiley and Brian Kimmel.

Prof. Smiley was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2005-2006 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.

Marci Deloatch
Marci Deloatch

My high school Agricultural Science teacher, Mr. Mohammed, was an inspirational and compassionate mentor for me. He was an enthusiastic and outstanding educator who was dedicated to his profession and his students.  Mr. Mohammed had a sincere interest in wanting to see that every student in his class succeeded.  He challenged his students and his creative lesson plans were always highly effective and educational.  In my second semester at the University of Maryland, I met Dr. Gniesha Dinwiddie, Assistant Professor in the African American Studies Department. Dr. Dinwiddie has truly been a source of guidance, encouragement, and inspiration to me. She has helped to place me on the path to graduate school by guiding me through the steps that I need to complete. I spent a semester as her Undergraduate Teaching Assistant and gained a respect for her attention to detail, organizational skills, and was able to glean a considerable amount of knowledge about the preparation needed to be a successful professional.

 


Ankush KhullarAnkush Khullar

The teachers I most admired growing up were those that not only allowed, but also encouraged me to think for myself. Whether this meant not answering my questions until I had exhausted every possible resource to find the answers on my own, or walking me through a problem instead of immediately giving me the solution, their tactics helped me gain self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment that I have grown to cherish. Ms. Jodie Molchany, my 12th grade chemistry teacher, and Dr. Barbara Gerratana, a biochemistry professor and my research advisor at Maryland are mentors that fit this description. Ms. Molchany structured her chemistry classes to encourage self-learning and collaboration between students. This forced me to go out of my way to learn the material, which made me a better student with a thirst for knowledge. Her enthusiasm about the subject undoubtedly played a role in my decision to major in biochemistry. Similarly, Dr. Gerratana fostered my love for learning by immersing me in a project far beyond my experience as soon as I joined her lab. At first, I was completely lost and questioned myself about whether or not diving into research so early on in my college career was such a great idea. However, after a few months and with her help, I became much more comfortable and have been working in her lab ever since. Without these mentors, I would not be where I am today.

 

Shyueh-Rwong Clare Cheng
Shyueh-Rwong Clare Cheng

Ms. Olchyk, my Spanish teacher from high school, is one of the most passionate and caring educators I have ever known. Through her keen observation and genuine care for her students, she was able to reach out to me during a difficult time. Ms. Olchyk has also taught me not to settle for what is expected, but to reach for what can be achieved by going beyond the requirements for assignments. At the University of Maryland, Dr. Tirrell-Corbin has pushed me out of my comfort zone to think critically about the educational trends and policies that surround our educational system today. Through listening to the valuable experiences and perspectives of Dr. Tirrell-Corbin and the guest speakers that she has invited, I have gained a sense of mission to further advocate for children who are deprived of the quality education that they deserve. In the future, I hope to pass on to my students the same passion and advocacy for social justice that Ms. Olchyk and Dr. Tirrell-Corbin have inspired in me.

Prof. Tirrell-Corbin was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2007-2008 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.

 


Mark Strother Mark Strother

Mr. Hopkins is a physics guru and a personal inspiration for me. He teaches his introductory high school physics classes with great enthusiasm and with the philosophy that it is students’ “first” physics class, not their “only” physics class. I always felt that his class was merely the beginning and so he expanded my mind and fostered a curiosity which led me to pursue physics research as a career. On the side, he spent time helping me with additional topics that were not covered in class so I could succeed on the Advanced Placement test. To me, the education of young people is of supreme importance and Mr. Hopkins is doing terrific work. Another person who deserves recognition is Dr. Luis Orozco, Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland. I have taken two classes with Dr. Orozco, and I have found his manner to be engaging, clear, and delightfully quirky. Currently, I am taking a seminar in nuclear and particle physics with Dr. Orozco—easily the most fascinating class I have taken in college. After a few weeks in this class, I am now considering pursuing fundamental physics in graduate school. Finally, Dr. Orozco has a talent for relating to his students and explaining advanced concepts on “our level.” I am indebted to both of these educators, and I hope to give to future students a fraction of what these two have given to me.

Mr. Hopkins was named a Teacher Mentor by a 2005-2006 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar

 


Lina Morales Lina Morales
I met Mr. John Lloyd at High Point High School when I interviewed for a scholarship. Since our first meeting, he has been very supportive with my interests and goals, and encouraged me to become a fine student. He continues to motivate me to complete my degree and possibly become an educator. Mr. Lloyd is currently the High School Assessment Coordinator at High Point High School where he assists students in graduating and continuing with plans for college. Dr. Cyppes and I share a passion for Latin American theatre and dramaturge. I met her because she offered a Latin American Theatre class for graduate students. As a person very fond of theatre, I didn’t want to miss this rare opportunity to learn more about this subject. I approached her to see if she would accept me and fortunately, she believed in me and I was able to attend every single class in that course. She was very supportive and encouraging of my work and taught me how to develop my critical thinking about the subjects I am interested in. Her knowledge and insights are constant food for my thoughts and her support and advice have kept me focused on my academic goals.

 

Kevin Kirk
Kevin Kirk

Several teachers have made a profound difference in my life. The two who stand out above the rest span 15 years of my education - my first grade teacher, Donna Bolander, and my current mentor, Patricia Cleveland, Associate Dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. I have many great memories of my life as a student throughout elementary and middle school. However, few are as vivid as the memories I have of Ms. Bolander when I was six years old. Throughout her class and the years beyond, her avid passion, extensive knowledge, and unbelievable strength in times of hardship proved to be extremely inspirational. She dubbed me "the smoosher" for my ability to talk to everyone. Fifteen years later, one of my best assets is my ability to talk to anyone. While at Maryland, my ability to "smoosh," or network, has enabled me to meet many great people and to take part in many unbelievable opportunities, including five different study abroad trips. Dean Cleveland has led two of the programs: one to Tunisia during my freshman year and another past January to Vietnam and Thailand. She opened my eyes to the world beyond and gave me an everlasting desire to travel. She has been a crucial mentor throughout each of my academic developments within the business school. Together, both Ms. Bolander and Dean Cleveland have made lasting impressions on me that I will carry for the rest of my life.

Prof. Cleveland was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2004-2005 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar

 

Jennifer Cunningham
Jennifer Cunningham
I have been lucky to encounter exceptional teachers and mentors who have inspired me and helped to make me the student and person I am today. Mrs. Diane McAllister was in charge of an intern/mentorship program that I participated in during my senior year of high school. Beyond providing me with an amazing opportunity of an internship at John’s Hopkins Hospital, Mrs. McAllister pushed me and inspired me to pursue my interests and to produce a higher quality of work than I thought I could achieve. She taught me the importance of taking risks and creating my own success and future by taking advantage of every opportunity.  She is the perfect example of a teacher who takes the time to get to know each of her students in order to create the best learning environment in which they can reach their highest potential. Similarly, Dr. Steve Roth provides me and the other students in the Kinesiology Honors program an environment in which we are free to explore our individual interests and passions. All of our ideas and interests are always met with enthusiasm and encouragement; he shows a true commitment to helping each of us achieve whatever aspirations we have for graduate or professional school.  I am confident that in graduate school and beyond, the advice and support that I have received from Mrs. McAllister and Dr. Roth will continue to influence and guide me.

Ms. McAllister was named a Faculty Mentor by a 2008-2009 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.

 

 

For more information about the Merrill Presidential Scholars Program contact:
Lisa Kiely, Assistant Dean, Office of Undergraduate Studies
2130 Mitchell Bldg. University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742
Phone: (301)405-0966 Fax:(301)314-9896 Email: lkiely@umd.edu


Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars Program
Office of Undergraduate Studies